Commenting on a recent post about birdwatching, a loyal reader mentioned that he has a serious problem with barn swallows in his neck of the woods, and has been pushed to the point of shooting them to keep them away from his front porch, where they, um, make a mess. Other loyal readers (who are also birders) pointed out that nearly all US songbirds are protected species, and it’s not legal to “just shoot them”. Things got a little heated (for this blog, anyway), so I decided to do some research to find out what other methods are available to control unwanted bird visitors.

Apparently, this is a pretty common problem, and many people have come up with many different solutions, some more believable and/or costly than others. For example:

  • spikes on favorite perching places, so they have nowhere to land
  • decoys of known predators (like snakes, owls, and falcons) to scare them away
  • barriers such as screening
  • natural and chemical repellents
  • scarecrows and other devices (a shiny pie plate hung on a string often works)

Check out for more information on these and other ideas.